I'm an experienced campaigner with a diverse professional background and a strong commitment to public service. Hackney is my home and it's the best part of the greatest city in the world.
I’m the daughter of a nurse and a soldier so the ethos of public service runs through my family. My family moved around the world when I was growing up following my Dad’s military postings and living in a succession of rented homes. I won two scholarships to study at Rugby School and became the first woman in my family to go to university, studying English at Oxford.
I first moved to Hackney after I graduated, when I trained as a teacher on the highly selective Teach First programme, and taught English at the old Skinners' Company's School for Girls on Stamford Hill. I was horrified by the low expectations that many of my students had for their futures and by the standards of behaviour I saw every day, and I was inspired to get involved with the Conservative Party.
I have since worked in arts education, journalism, politics, retail and tourism. I used to work for Tesco (the UK's largest private sector employer, which started life as a market stall in Hackney) where I saw the highs and lows of business - and spent time working on the check out at the stores in Morning Lane and Stoke Newington High Street. I then led the national tourist board's work to convince the Government of the importance of tourism and the vital contribution it makes to jobs and the economy. Now I lead the work of influential think tank Policy Exchange to communicate its policy ideas on issues ranging from tackling air pollution to strengthening Britain's place in the world.
I was proud to be the Conservative candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in the 2015 general election too. I secured more votes than any Conservative candidate had since 1992. I was also the Conservative candidate to be the Mayor of Hackney in 2016.
As a governor of an excellent church primary school in Hoxton, I continue to be closely involved in education. My husband and I are both very involved in the life of our church in Lower Clapton and are active members of the Conservative Christian Fellowship. Like many people in Hackney, I keep fit by cycling to work every day and swim a few times a week when London Fields Lido is open - and holidays usually involve a lot of swimming in bracing British waters or long walks around the coast. I always have a book in my bag and a large 'to read' pile at home courtesy of Hackney's libraries.